Brock Yates, Phone Home

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The car press has become the propaganda ministry of entities and individuals who either know nothing about cars or who loathe cars.

Whichever it is, the end result is the same: The writing of serially dishonest stories (and that ancient journalistic term is most apt) that anyone who does know something about cars – even if he loathes them – would notice immediately.


“The cost to implement tough fuel efficiency standards for cars imposed by the Obama Administration for the first half of the decade could be up to 40 percent lower than previously estimated using existing conventional technologies, according to a report from a nonprofit group released on Wednesday.”

Note the italicized parts.

First of all, it’s not “fuel efficiency” standards. It’s that plus the imposition of carbon dioxide “emissions” standards, which can only be complied with by burning less fuel. It’s not a small point. What Obama’s minions did was to – for the first time in American regulatory history – lump carbon dioxide in with proven harmful emissions that create or worsen smog, acid rain and make it harder for people to breathe.

But C02 does none of those things.

It hasn’t been proven to hurt anything. It is known to help many things – such as plants to grow. More and bigger and faster – which leads to more oxygen for us, plus food.

It has been claimed that vehicular production of C02 contributes to this slippery thing called “climate change.” But there are lots of assumptions there, not the least of which is how (and how much) the “climate” will “change” as a result of what cars generate, C02-wise.

Whether you believe in “climate change” is just exactly the point. It is a belief – as in a religious one. Hence the shrieks, Jim Jones-like of deniers of the religion of “climate change.”

The article does not explain.

It simply asserts – and package deals. The assumption – purveyed as fact – is that the fatwa is necessary and good; the obvious flip side of that being moral turpitude for questioning any of it.

Then it gets worse.

“… could be up to 40 percent lower.”

The author of this as well as whoever copy-edited it must have previously worked for a tooth-whitening company. Yes, “up to 40 percent” lower! Which could be anything from 0 percent lower, right on down the line.

And almost certainly is less than 40 percent.

No qualification or questioning. Just “up to” 40 percent lower, which they know is to be read as “40 times lower.” In the same manner that “lose up to 40 pounds” in a week means you’re not going to lose anywhere near 40 pounds, unless you saw off a limb.

These hacks seem to like the “up to 40 percent” thing; it’s interesting that exactly the same figure was used to smear VW over the emissions of its TDI diesel engines. These were alleged to be “up to 40 percent” higher.

But might have been 1 percent higher, too.

I’ve yet to read a single car press story that points this out. It is despicable. If VW’s diesels exceeded the allowable standards, how much, exactly? Why not spell it out? The truth is it wasn’t much – a lot less than “up to 40 percent higher,” at any rate – and we aren’t even talking whole numbers.

That was not elucidated, either.

So, the purveying of the fatwa’s costs as being “40 percent lower” than originally calculated is sloppy at best, disingenuous at worst. I believe it is the latter, because of what comes next:

“…according to a report from a nonprofit group.

And who might the “nonprofit group” happen to be? Why it is something called the International Council of Clean Transportation. And lookee, lookee here. It is funded by the ClimateWorks Foundation – the same outfit that spewed the “up to 40 times higher” stuff about the VW TDI’s exhaust emissions.

 Here is the mission statement of of the ICCT:

“The International Council on Clean Transportation is an independent nonprofit organization founded to provide first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Its mission is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation, in order to benefit public health and mitigate climate change.”

Italics added.

Drew Kodjak, ICCT, speaks at the Global Fuel Economy Initiative.

The article does not mention any of this, only – benignly – mewls that the regulations proposed will cost “up to 40 percent less,” as determined by a “nonprofit” . . . that just happens to be in the business of providing the agit-prop for environmental regulators to mitigate climate change.

There was a time, barely recalled, when it was the duty of a journalist to mention at the possibility of conflict of interest when mentioning, for instance, a report issued by a group that has an agenda which just happens to exactly coincide with the agenda of the regulatory body seeking to justify what it proposes.

It just gets worse. If your teeth don’t ache yet, wait. Read.

The article prints – at face value, unquestioned – that the total cost per car of the anti-C02 and fuel efficiency fatwas to the consumer as estimated by the regulators will be “just” $875 – and hey, it’ll be “up to 40 percent lower,” too.

The check’s in the mail. And I promise to pull out, too.

Even if we accept the regulators’ guaranteed lowball numbers – has there ever been a case, even one, of a federal regulation costing less than claimed? Or even merely as much as claimed? – there is no mention of the other costs.

A croaked turbo… not cheap!

You know, when stuff breaks.

The $875 figure (or “up to 40 percent lower” than that figure) is for the cost of the stuff added to the car – like turbochargers to boost the power of tiny  – and so more fuel efficient – engines. And transmissions with as many forward gears, almost, as an 18 wheeler (to shave down engine RPMs to the minimum, to reduce how much gas the thing burns).

Well, ok. But these things cost money to fix, too. And – honest numbers – it is a lot more than $875.

A replacement turbocharger, for example, will cost you in the neighborhood of $1,500-$3,000 parts and labor, depending on the car. Turbos do fail. Usually, after the warranty coverage has elapsed. It used to be that only a small number of high-performance cars had turbocharged engines, precisely because they are cost-adders as well as performance adders.

But do they make sense in a family sedan or an economy car?

A replacement automatic transmission that used to cost $1,000 or so when automatics had four or five speeds now involves $3,000 or more (in some cases, much more) because the equipment has twice as many gears and is an exponentially more complex and so costly piece of equipment.

Does a family car need eight, nine – ten – forward speeds?

Mind: The regulators will not pay for this – “up to 40 percent lower” or not.

You will.

But the car press, as in the sample above, never says so. Because it either doesn’t like cars – or it doesn’t understand cars.

Because it does not employ people who do.

Which is as strange a thing as hiring a bulimic-anorexic with cauterized taste buds to write restaurant reviews.

We miss you, Brock.

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  1. Weasel words, “could” and “may” are used all over. Given the quoted statement, an actual increase would fit. The statement is crap, the study is crap; all fake to support a narrative and an agenda.

    What is a car? What is conventional technology? These people would be happy if your car carried only two with a change of underwear at a top speed of 35mph and included pedals for going uphill.

    • Hehe, that’s basically true of ALL modern “science” [Not real science, but just unproven/unprovable theories, fantasiesi and surmisings masquerading as science]- follow all of their BS back to it’s foundational sources, and it’s all “May have” ,”could have”, “It is conceivable”, “since we believe X and Y transpired 80 billion years ago, it therefore follows that Z must exist…”.

      It’s all BS. It’s a religion for statists.

  2. Eric, your figures are WAY OFF on the costs of some of these repairs. $1000 for an auto trans? Try three times that. Friends with a Passat TDI 4 speed auto had theirs take a dump on them coming through Oregon. Had to have it towed to a reputable shop in Roseburg, rent a car to get home *late), then go back and collect it.. AFTER paying about $3500 for the rebuild, which comported will with what good shops in Portland would have charged. The E4OD in Fords from mid-90’s onward runs about the same and up, depending on what upgrades one chooses. the electronic 4 speed in the Chrysler cars runs about $3200.
    Turbos, IF your is caught prior to an impellor crash, thus being rebuildable, will cost a grand +/- but a reman in the box runs about $1500 and up, depending, then the four to six hours to R & R. That is for the ones the mechanic can actually SEE with the bonnet opened up. Switch to the VW/Audi V engines, where careful scouting cannot even SEE the infernal thing, will, labour goes to 8 or 10 hours.

    I’ll lay high stakes at long odds a Peterbilt’s big Allison 8 speed automatic can be redone for less money than any of these modren 8 or 10 speed autos, and will likely last a million or three miles before needing it again. To make those slushboxes small enough (and lightweight enough to make the economizers content.. gotta shave every gramme we can off those things, ya know…) there is NO WAY those huge nightmares of complexity can last.

    Had an opportunity to bid the job to rebuild a VeeWee 7 speed auto a year or so ago. Did some research.. NO information available anywhere outside the VW kingdom. Having sussed out, on my own, the arcana of Mercedes 4 speed automatics from late 1960’s and onward, and recalling THAT adventure, and also knowing how idiotic the Wolfsberg maniacs have become, I declined the job. This was confirmed when I asked a couple local good trans shops.. they would not quote the job either. I decided I was not smarter then they…..

    • Take another look Tionico – he’s saying it used to be about $1k. And that $3500 your friends paid for the VW trans sounds cheap compared to the quotes I got on mine – so I’m taking the buyback.

  3. Eric:

    Off-topic but black elderberry extract might be worth a look-see especially when paired with vitamin C. It’s worked well for me, is natural, tastes good & has no side effects.

    • Thanks, Rob… if I can summon the gumption to haul my carcass out of bed and go downtown to shop, I will try to get some and give it a try… but right now, being horizontal seems like the ticket…

  4. ” sloppy at best, disingenuous at worst.”

    I’d say that it’s disingenuous at best and a deliberate lie at worst. I managed to say that without my usual F-bomb, too. Somebody clap for me over here.

    • Hi Ed,

      I’m floating about 8 inches off the ground and hearing weird weird, tinny-static noises in my head… so apologies for any less-than-deft scribblings.

      I hadn’t been sick in more than two years; then two back to back. I feel wiped.

      • Nah, your scribblings are just fine. I just like to take a swing at the climatards whenever possible. I apologize for using your prose as a jumping off point for my latest assault on them. Hope you feel better soon.

  5. Brock Yates’ book, “The Decline and Fall of the American Automotive Industry,” remains a classic. Back in the early 1980s, he fingered three major culprits: Idiotic govt. regulations (of course), stupid corporate management and greedy unions.

    • And those three culprits are still to this day the cause of the decimation of American business and industry- and instead of addressing those problems, they’ve only taken them to new heights of insanity. People truly don’t learn from the past.

  6. There is a lesson in the manner of conduct of the “progessives”, and few of them ever see it. Whenever the mob, plebs or proletarians need to be whipped into a frenzy give them the rich or intelligent as an enemy, the commoners will always out number the not so common. Tell them the “bourgeois” look down on them, or the intellectuals think they are dumb. Now we have the internet and proclamations are more easily investigated. This leaves them with a quandary. Now these mobs are encouraged to practice political correctness and social justice, all things the commoners of the past had little time or inclination to pursue. These “progressives” look down upon any that challenge their narrative, with the venom and righteousness they expend they have become the new “bourgeois”. The proles of the past had not the time or resources to engage like this.

  7. Regarding aircraft pilot licensing…

    “Number of active pilots. As of the end of 2015, in the US, there were an estimated 590,039 active certificated pilots. This number has been declining gradually over the past several decades, down from a high of over 827,000 pilots in 1980. There were 702,659 in 1990 and 625,581 in 2000.”

    There are more than a few societal signs that are not good….not good at all.

    • Hi Aljer,

      I’ve always wanted to get at least a visual rating but the hassle and cost has become too much. I toy around with the idea of building an ultra-light and just playing in the back field.

      • Yeah, ultralights are cool! (Unless we’re talking about cigarettes… 😉 )- I wouldn’t want to fly a “real” plane, just because a driver’s license and a mailbox are already enough for me; I don’t want anymore involvement with Uncle than that; am not willing to beg for his permission/comply with his BS. Voluntary submission is still submission.

  8. GAIA is “earth worship” and is a “religion” which government has no business dealing with.
    The earth is much more resilient than most people realize. There are naturally-occurring “oil spills” all over the earth that “mother earth” takes care of, quite well “on her own”.
    The Exxon Valdez oil spill is but a prime example of human interference making things worse. The areas that were left alone cleared up and recovered much FASTER than the areas that had human intervention.
    One volcano spews out more pollution than in the whole time of human existence.
    Global warming, AKA “climate change” is another scam that deserves a quick death. The climate is ALWAYS changing and is driven by solar output. Even the SUV drivers on Mars and other planets are noticing the difference.
    As I have previously stated, it’s about CONTROL…

  9. Environmentalists have been some of the most dishonest people in their misguided attempts to “save the planet”. Our earth is much more resilient than they would have you believe. Environmentalists see humans as a “pestilence”. They would like to see the human population reduced (by any means necessary) by around 90%. The survivors would be walled-off in soviet-style high-rise apartments, riding bicycles, taking trains and buses while the wilderness areas would be available only to the “anointed” environmentalists.

    I, for one, have no use for these limp-wristed, birkenstock-wearing, prius-driving, tofu-eating poor excuses for human beings. I would suggest that environmentalists take their own advice and eliminate themselves first.
    Environmentalists are like watermelons–green on the outside and red (communist) on the inside. It’s always been about control.
    I CHEER when I hear a of a “greenpeace” ship getting blown out of the water. . .

    • I would cheer the sinking of a GreenPeace vessel, too.. except that they never OWNED them. They chartered them… and I do know that the Rainbow Warrior ended up being a total loss not to GreenPiss but to the vessel’s owner. We had a rather close mutual friend is how I learned. When they abandoned that vessel in the South Pacific the loss accrued to the owner, not GreenPiss.

      GreenPiss are a bunch of self-centred hate filled manipulators too cowardly to put their own lives and fortunes on the line. They have no honur, sacred or otherwise.

  10. Observe how Hollywood portrays cars. They usually film a car starting up or running showing the tailpipe with excessive visible smoke–not reality. Hollywood never met a car that it did like…

  11. Thanks for pointing out how often they use the number 40. As a result I remembered something. 40 is a biblical number. It seems to mean a great many or symbolic of a trial or test. Since the bible is drawn from other sources we are probably looking at some sort significance and manipulation that is thousands of years older than that.

    Nothing really ever changes with humans does it?

  12. It’s often said that mathematics is immune to falsehood and lying. You either have the correct answer to a problem or you don’t. No gray are, no middle ground. 2+2 is always 4.

    But it sure can be gamed to the extreme. When you control what the “problem” is.

    40% seems like a huge thing. But when you learn what the 40% of what its part of, the .00000000000001 or whatever. It’s a fart in the wind.

    Frankly we should be celebrating that we solved the pollution problem of gas and diesel powered vehicles. That celebration could have been twenty years ago in 1995-7ish.

    The greenies can’ t even argue the “savings” from the cost of fuel will equal out the higher buy in cost. Its too long of a period, even longer then what the car will even last under the best case scenario.

    I used to sell real estate. It’s hard to get people to buy more efficient houses. Why, because they can’t see it. A granite countertop they can see. Insulation, nope. Plus the buy in costs only work if you live in the house for decades, which few people do anymore. You end up buying savings for the third or fourth owner, not yourself. So you don’t do it.

    There is a wonderful insulation product for buildings. The spray foam insulation. The folks got their attic re-insulated last year because they had a ice dam problem. For sh*ts and giggles I got the local spray foam guy to give us an quote. $12,000 for an attic of a 1500 ft house. That’s TEN times what the fiberglass guy charged dear ole dad for his attic insulation. For the SAME R value. Granted the spray foam would get leaks sealed up better, and the attic would have been inside the conditioned space of the house(they would have sprayed the underside of the roof, rather then put it on the floor). But TEN times the cost, give me a break! Maybe if it was double, maybe, but yeah, when its out of the ballpark, you just can’t do it. Even if you wanted too.

    It’s no different when it comes to these cars they want us to have. The cost is just so far out there.

    • That’s what I’ve found looking at water heaters too. The ultra-efficient models will save a few percent of energy compared to what’s installed today, but at an enormous premium. But it costs me about $15 a month to heat water, so I’ll never make up the difference between the cheap inefficient heater and the expensive efficient one.

      Of course the solution the central planners give for this dilemma is carbon taxes.

      • Eric G, well done, sir. YOU are of that rare breed that acutallly examines the WHOLE STORY. I still recall an exchange with the realtor as I was contemplating purchasing my first house…. I asked him to break down a few scenaria of varied total price, down payment, interest rates, term, and monthly payment rates, as a help to me in making my offer for him to present. (the home was owner financed, assuming an exicting note, my offer was for the balance the owner would carry). He was helpful and never hesitated to run a new set of calcs. Once I made my offer for him to present, he told me in all the years he’d been selling real estate, he had NEVER had anyone consider all the variables before presenting. My offer was accepted immediately, making me wonder if I could have squeezed it a bit tighter somewhere….

        I still do this whenever considering any significant purchase with any sort of extended service expectation.

        • In a more complex situation of assuming an existing note a smaller offer from a detail oriented person is worth more than a larger offer from a flake.

  13. WE emit carbon dioxide every time we exhale, so if Obozo can lump-in CO2 as a pollutant now, subject to regulation and vanquishment to the cornfield, ipso-fatso, does that not then constitute the erection of the mechanism by which they can thus regulate every breath we take, or our very ability to breath or even exist, since we emit “harmful pollutants”?

    What has always amused me about these “green” depopulation idiots, is how they would like to destroy humanity to “save the earth”- but even if the earth needing saving, shouldn’t the goal be to save it so that people can can have a suitable environment in which to live, and enjoy it’s bounty? They claim to be against man because “man destroys the environment, which leads to death and extinction”- so their “solution” is to make man extinct, so only “nature” exists; nature, in which one organism feeds off of the death another- so that the earth would essentially become an empty, lifeless and void place like Mars or the Moon?

    What they’re saying is “Let’s kill off everything that emits CO2, because CO2 is a pollutant which will kill off everything; so we’ll beat them to it!” 😮 And of course, swince CO2 isn’t a pollutant and doesn’t kill anything, but in fact benefits life, I guess if they just associate it verbally with other gasses, it is guilty by association or something? I don’t know- who can figure out their insanity?

    Doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it?

    But of course, the average imbecile who professes belief in such things never thinks it through that far. And of course, anyone who does, realizes that the whole thing is obviously just a sham to enable “them” to gain total control and establish worldwide Marxism.


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